The family from which Sir Thomas descended held a prominent position as connected with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland since the time of the Revolution.
The first of Sir Thomas's ancestors who settled in Ulster fought under WILLIAM III at the battle of the Boyne.
In the female line, Sir Thomas was fourth in descent from the Rev Francis Laird, who was ordained in 1709 to the pastoral charge of the congregation of Donaghmore, County Donegal; and who was married to the niece of Sir Henry Cairnes Bt, and the daughter of Captain Henderson, of Castletown, near Strabane, County Tyrone.WILLIAM McCLURE, son of Thomas McClure and his wife, Ann Swan, of Summer Hill, County Antrim, wedded Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev John Thomson.
This gentleman died in 1843, having had issue,
William (the Rev), senior minister of 1st Presbyterian Church, Londonderry;Mr McClure's younger son,
THOMAS, of whom we treat.
THOMAS McCLURE (1806-93), MP for Belfast, 1868-74; and for County Londonderry, 1878-85, High Sheriff of County Down, 1864, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Belfast.
He was educated at the Belfast Royal Academical Institution (Inst).
Mr McClure was created a baronet in 1874, denominated of Belmont, and of Dundela, County Down.
He married, in 1877, Ellison Thorburn, daughter of Robert Andrew Macfie, of Dreghorn, Edinburgh.
BELMONT HOUSE, his residence, on land which formerly belonged to the Earl of Ranfurly, stood on the site of Campbell College.
Knock Presbyterian Church is probably unique in that the congregation sprang out of a children’s Sunday School established in 1870 by a James Colville, and which met in an old mill situated in the Cherryvalley area.
This building was owned by the Liberal MP for Belfast, Sir Thomas McClure, who was instrumental in helping to establish not only Knock but also the nearby Belmont Presbyterian Church congregation.
Sir Thomas leased some land in the 1850s to the celebrated architect, Thomas Jackson, who designed many of the large houses in the locality.
It is thought that Sir Thomas's first house was Glenmachan Tower, (old) Holywood Road, Belfast, presumably prior to the Shillingtons.
First Published in September, 2010.